[A quick note: It is rare that I binge read a book or series. It’s even rarer that I abandon my TBR to continue a series. I’m usually perfectly fine waiting between books. Not so for the All Souls Trilogy. I could not put this series down. The moment I finished one book I was on to the next. If you haven’t read my review of A Discovery of Witches, you can check it out HERE. Otherwise here is my spoiler-free review of book 2.]
“𝐈𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞, 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮.” —Deborah Harkness
For fans of time travel, this installment was a slam dunk! The amount of realism given to life in 1590 impressed me. Better still, the setting was dynamic, with time spent in London, Prague, and France. I fell even deeper in love with Diana and Matthew. Their character arcs were well balanced with the plot, with plenty of tense moments. I appreciated seeing their relationship growth and their internal struggles.
To escape the Congregation, Matthew and Diana choose to go back in time to 1590 England (London) where Diana might find some peace and witches to teach her magic. Unfortunately, peace is the last thing they find when they arrive. Especially with the witch hunts taking place in Scotland. It adds so much suspense to the plot as Diana tries to find a witch who can teach her.
As a second installment, I appreciated the slight change in feel while staying true to the style of storytelling. There was still plenty of historical detail, but it was more immersive as Diana and Matthew navigated the sixteenth century. I loved seeing references to famous historical figures, inventions, and events. For someone like Diana, who spent her life studying these things, it was great to see her delight in getting to witness things she’d only ever read about. My favorite part of the setting was seeing the change in culture regarding males and females, as well as the clothing and food.
The relationship growth was fantastic. I loved that Matthew and Diana didn’t start off with a perfect marriage. There was so much growth, and just when you think they had peaked, they found a way to grow even closer. The dynamic of their marriage was an ebb and flow that felt realistic. I adored watching them work through their issues, all while they managed their own internal struggles. Matthew struggled to fall back into his old life and Diana struggled to master the magic within her.
“𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐝𝐨. 𝐁𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟.” —Deborah Harkness
One of my favorite parts was NEW CHARACTERS! I fell in love with Gallowglass’s character. I loved that there were a few favorites added to Matthew and Diana’s family. It made my heart so full. My favorite part was meeting Philippe de Clairmont. I legit ugly-cried during their parting. It gave me so many feels, especially knowing Philippe’s fate. Talk about emotional.
A word of caution about the book-to-show adaptation for Season Two. I was SUPER disappointed that the show did NOT follow the book very well. It totally jumbled things and left out a few favorite moments. But I still enjoyed it.
It’s a tough call but I might have liked book two even more than the first. This story has grabbed ahold of my heart strings in a powerful way. It’s a favorite series now. I hope the final book ends with a bang!
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝟓/𝟓⭐️